Winning races is hard. Countless interconnected elements have to go right. Every decision has to be the correct one. Collectively, you need to perform at a higher level than the competition. But if a single thing goes wrong, you’re just one of the losers.
Winning championships is even harder. Which is why Team Penske’s NTT IndyCar Series/NASCAR Cup Series title double is such an extraordinary achievement.
Yes, Roger Penske’s race teams have been the benchmark in American racing for more than a half century, racking up more than 40 assorted national championships along the way, not to mention 18 Indianapolis 500 victories and a trio of Daytona 500 wins. But even this powerhouse had never sealed the deal on America’s top open-wheel and stock car titles in the same season. Until 2022, that is.
In RACER’s 2022 Champions Issue, we’re celebrating some of the champs of North American and international racing. Max Verstappen’s record-breaking 15 grand prix wins delivered him a second Formula 1 World Championship, while Pfaff Motorsports and Meyer Shank Racing earned the first GTD Pro and final DPi title, respectively, in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
But what Team Penske achieved, courtesy of Will Power in the NTT IndyCar Series and Joey Logano in NASCAR’s top tier (each taking their second career title for The Captain), is unique in the history of U.S. racing.
How do you follow that? Same way Penske always does. Regroup, reset and prepare for what comes next. For Roger and every single person within his race teams, the next win is the most important one. And with Penske adding factory programs with Porsche’s 963 LMDh in IMSA and the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2023, you can be sure the goal isn’t two championships, but four.
Power sits down for a closer look at how speed and smarts earned him that second title, and RACER collaborator Ricardo Santos provides a striking cover illustration that puts Will and Joey on the fast track together.
As well as celebrating those worthy champions, there’s a lot more fascinating content in RACER 319, including a look at how Adrian Newey and Red Bull Racing unlocked F1’s new-for-2022 regulations, insight on how IMSA’s four LMDH manufacturers are getting ready for the class’s 2023 launch, and everything you need to know on Formula E’s lighter, more powerful and much faster Gen3 racecar.
Add in a close-up view of Ferrari’s new 499P LMH prototype, an introduction to Aussie Supercars Championship rising star Cameron Waters, and some fighting talk from Monster Energy Supercross title contenders Eli Tomac and Chase Sexton, and that’s some championship-caliber reading right there.
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